"Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit..." (John 3:6-8)

"Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:6-8) 

What does 'flesh gives birth to flesh' mean?

Jesus now must try to explain the difference between the physical body (here "the flesh") and the spiritual body (here "the spirit") to Nicodemus.

The physical body is a temporary vehicle for the spiritual self. Each of us is an eternal spiritual individual.

As spiritual individuals, each of us was created by the Supreme Being. He is the "Spirit" in the above statement, and we are the "spirit" within this physical body.

The physical body is simply a tool or vehicle for the spiritual individual. It is like a person driving a car. A person can get in a car and drive it, and then he can get out of the car at some point and walk away.

We are like the car driver and the car is like our physical body. The spiritual individual utilizes the physical body for a few decades. Then we must leave it behind, just as a car owner must one day get abandon an old car.

What does 'you cannot tell where it comes from' mean?

Jesus is describing the reality that the spiritual person and the Spirit - are both invisible to the eyes of the physical body.

Each of us is a person, and we are composed of spirit. This means that we are more properly identified as spirit-persons.

The world of spirit - where the "Spirit" and the "spirits" dwell - cannot be perceived with the physical senses, because the purpose of being in the physical body is to allow us the opportunity to learn within a state of naivete.

One might compare this to scientific medical research. In a double-blinded medical study, both the patients and the doctors are "blinded." They are "blinded" by not being able to know who is receiving what.

The reason why the patients and the doctors are blinded is so that the drug or herb can be tested without the influence of forcing the outcome through some sort of bias. It is like testing from a blank slate.

In the same way, when foods or beverages are compared, the taste tester will wash out their mouth between tastes so each can be tasted with a fresh palette. 

This rinsing of the mouth also gives rise to something used in medical testing. That is when the subject doesn't know whether they are using the medicine or a placebo. This is called being "blinded." When both the patient and the doctor don't know who is using the medicine or the placebo, the medical study is called "double-blinded."

In the case of the physical world, we are also "blinded." We are given a "blank slate" in order to learn. We are born into this world having forgotten our former lives and our connection with the Supreme Spirit. We also forget our identity as a spirit-person.

Such a "blank slate" allows us the ultimate in options. We can make a variety of choices in our lives, including choices related to helping or harming others, and those related to finding the Truth about the Supreme Being.

In other words, this "blank slate" allows us to forget about God if we choose to, and virtually ignore Him. We can even pretend that we are God - as some teach. Or we can simply live our lives as though we are the center of the universe.

What does this have to do with being born again?

Jesus also states here that, "You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'" What do the "spirit" and the "Spirit" and our "blank slate" have to do with being born again?

Being born again in Jesus' vernacular is basically having a change of heart.

Coming to the point where someone has a change of heart and is born again typically takes time to learn the lessons this world teaches us. This is something that occurs from within the heart, and this means others often cannot see such a change of heart.

This is because the realization of God and the change of heart that is being referred to as being "born again" is an internal process that cannot be seen or recognized physically (outside of one's activities).

Just as we cannot see the "spirit-person" or the "Spirit" with these eyes, we cannot see a person being born again with the physical eyes. Again, this is because the spiritual world is invisible to our physical eyes. Our eyes were not designed to see the spiritual world. They were designed to allow us to ignore the spiritual world.

Therefore, the process of being born again takes place invisibly. It is not the proclaiming of being "born again" as many do among sectarian institutions. This is not being "born again." Being "born again" is a change of heart. It is a change of our spiritual attitude. It is deciding to turn towards God. It is making a determination that we want to love God and serve God. It is a decision to give up our enviousness of Him.

This is a very private and very personal decision, that comes from deep within. It has nothing to do with what religion, sect or other "team" we might belong to. It is a decision made between each of us and the Supreme Being.

That makes this decision a spiritual decision - one that has its origin in the "Spirit." In other words, our spiritual selves come from God, and He is our means to remove our physical illusion that we are these physical bodies. He is our means of returning home, even though we are caged within a temporary physical body.

Why did our 'spirit' take on 'flesh'?

Why is the spiritual individual encased in a temporary physical body? This has been symbolically explained in Genesis:
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 2:21-24)
Here we see that God ‘made garments of skin for Adam and his wife.’ What are garments of skin? Are we talking animal skins? Or little leaves as depicted in some art renderings of Adam and Eve? No, we are talking about human skin. We are talking about the physical body.

In other words, because Adam (more appropriately translated to "spirit-person") disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, God banished him from the Garden of Eden - heaven. God sent Adam and his wife out of heaven, gave them physical bodies of flesh ‘to work the ground from which he had been taken.’ What is the ‘ground?’ This is the physical world. The "garments of skin" are made from (or taken from) the physical world.

And what was the ‘tree of knowledge of good and evil’ that God is referring to? And what did God mean by “the man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil’?

What is the 'tree of knowledge of good and evil'?

Remember that God asked Adam not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why not? And why did God put the tree in a place where Adam could eat its fruit in the first place? The tree of knowledge of good and evil is better translated to the "knowledge of pleasure and pain." The knowledge of pleasure and pain is rooted the desire for enjoyment. The desire for pleasure naturally produces pain because in order to feel pleasure, one must also be prepared to feel it's counterbalance, which is pain. In short, this represents a desire for self-centered enjoyment separate from God.

Why was this advised against by God? Because God created all of us for His enjoyment. He wanted to exchange relationships of love. But in order to exchange real love, God also had to give us the freedom to love Him or not. That freedom was expressed in our also having the choice to want enjoyment for ourselves (represented by the symbolic temptation by the serpent). Once this desire takes root, one must face both sides of

Desiring to be the enjoyer is basically desiring to be God, because God is the only true Enjoyer, and we are subjects in His kingdom. 

Still, He gives us the freedom to love and serve Him. Otherwise, it would not truly be love.

So eating the forbidden fruit is symbolic of each of us spirit-persons, at one time or another, rejecting our position as being a subject in God's world. It symbolizes wanting to become God-like. This is, generally speaking, the root of envy.

This self-centered perspective of wanting to be God-like is the state God described in Genesis as: “the man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil’.

In the spiritual sense, "good" is being a loving caretaker of God (our natural identity) and "evil" is the self-centered desire of being the enjoyer and having others love and serve me. Once we develop this desire to be the enjoyer, God boots us out of the spiritual world.

Does God force us to worship Him?

God doesn't force us to worship Him. Neither does he force us to remain around Him. Instead, He creates a temporary virtual world, where spirit-persons can live apart from Him and even reject His existence if they want to.

This is God's way of, as a Sting song says, "If you love someone, set them free." God has set us free - free to determine for ourselves whether we want to love and worship Him.

This is why we were given these physical bodies.

With these physical bodies, we are in the illusion that we are the center of attention, and nothing matters but us. We can focus on making ourselves happy, and screw everyone else. With these physical bodies, we can ignore God's existence and pretend that we are God!

The virtual physical world is not a perfect world, however. God would not do that. He would not let us go forever. He still wants us back. In order to draw us back to Him, He had to create, within this virtual physical world, a learning program so that we might - assuming we wanted to - learn and hopefully realize that we are not happy - no matter how many goodies we get, or how many screaming fans we have - away from God. We are not happy without our Best Friend, Protector, and Companion.

Yet even though we rejected God and wanted to pretend to be God, He still loves us and still wants us back. So He set up this physical world in such a way that we should learn that the only way we can truly be happy is if we return to His Loving Arms.